SC coastal fish Identification

Small juvenile halibut on a finger

Nursery habitat for juvenile halibut

Being a tiny fish isn’t easy! Throughout the course of their lives, many fishes move from the open ocean to coastal nursery habitats, and then back to deep off-shore areas. All that traveling leaves them vulnerable to lots of predators and variable food resources. Fish mortality is especially high when they’re very young, so ending up in a nursery habitat with plenty of food and places to hide from predators is critical to allow them to grow up to be successful adults. The goal of my research is to determine the pros and cons of the coastal nurseries available to juvenile California halibut in San Diego. I conduct experiments in San Diego Bay to learn about juvenile halibut habitat preference, and about their ability to find prey and avoid predators in different habitat types.

Lee holds a juvenile lobster while sitting on a boatUnlike most fishes, halibut are flat and have both eyes on the same side of their head. This body plan allows them to sit on the bottom, where their dappled-brown color helps them to blend into the sediment. Because halibut are so well camouflaged in sandy habitat, benefits of highly-structured habitat like eelgrass has been largely overlooked, despite its well-documented benefits to other juvenile marine organisms. Eelgrass provides rich prey resources and lots of hiding places. My research shows that access to eelgrass and to sandy habitat may be important to halibut. Juvenile halibut show a strong preference for eelgrass in habitat choice experiments, but their survival is significantly higher in sandy habitat where they can bury themselves easily. Interactions between juvenile fishes and their habitats affect their growth and survival. Learning about these interactions is important for understanding how nursery habitat quality and availability allow juvenile fishes to grow into healthy, successful adults.

Lee sitting in full scuba gear on side of boat Halibut on the bottom of a clear tank with colored tags floating above their bodies. Alex and Lee in wetsuits on the beach after seining Kevin examines a lobster over tanks as Lee looks on
Avian-Cetacean Press Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast: Common Birds, Crabs, Shells, Fish, and other Entities of the Coastal Environment (2nd edition)
Book (Avian-Cetacean Press)

Catching WHITES -2

2004-12-18 13:02:57 by WHites

Lake whitefish generally spawn in the late autumn just prior to freeze-up in shallow water (often less than 25 feet), usually over a hard or stony bottom, but sometimes over sand. Spawning can occur under the ice in some lakes, however. What does this tell you? Well, like most fish, spent adults are hungry following the spawning season. Often the best lake whitefish catches are shortly after they spawn in the month of December, just when the ice is safe to travel on. Use caution on ice and always test the conditions. Never walk on ice that is less than four inches thick and don't drive on ice that is less than 12 inches thick


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